Govt urges GSD to ‘be constructive’ and help shape anti-corruption legislation
The Gibraltar Government has urged the GSD to make constructive proposals to any changes it wishes to see in draft legislation to set up an Anti-Corruption Authority, rather than adopt a “negative and unconstructive” stance.
It was reacting after the GSD said the Bill published last week by the Government was “half-hearted and flawed” and that the proposed legislation “does not go far enough”.
In publishing the Bill, the Government said the aim was to increase public accountability and transparency in Gibraltar and establish a regulatory framework in all areas of public responsibility.
The Bill seeks to create an anti-corruption authority, and sets out in detail its composition, duties, powers and functions, immunities and protections, conflict of interest provisions, confidentiality, as well as powers to issue guidance and cooperate with other domestic authorities.
But the GSD said the Bill falls short of the goals and said it had no faith the Government would adhere to the necessary standards in public life, accusing it of tolerating “opaque financial and governance practices that are unacceptable”.
On Monday, the Government hit back.
"This community will be disappointed by the unconstructive position of the GSD,” said Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
“I am not surprised though, as the GSD have been against an Anti-Corruption Authority since I first mooted it in 2011.”
“Then they insisted we should not do it and Mr Azopardi and the PDP joined with the GSD to argue against it, calling my proposal 'half baked’.”
"As if they were in a time-warp, the GSD now call our proposal 'half hearted' and still try to block it.”
“I am not going to let the GSD and Mr Azopardi continue to stand in the way of the establishment an Anti-Corruption Authority for Gibraltar, as they have done since 2011.”
“In fact, I don't understand why they are so nervous about this Authority coming into existence. That is a matter for them.”
“I am just pleased to be leading on the establishment of a law to provide for the Anti-Corruption Authority to become a reality for Gibraltar.”
"In our press release I had invited the GSD to work with us if they wanted to propose changes to the Bill.”
“Instead they have just come out against it completely.”
“I guess their nervousness and negativity comes from realising that we will be taking action and that the times when people could make empty allegations of corruption are coming to an end.”
“I look forward to the debate in Parliament on this important Bill and, given everything the GSD, and Mr Azopardi in the PDP, have said in the past, I will pay particular attention to how the Opposition will try to wriggle off the hook this time.”
“My desire, nonetheless, would still be for the GSD to reflect and work with us and make constructive proposals they want to suggest changes to the Bill.”
“I think that is what most people in Gibraltar would prefer, but given the GSD's track record of blocking the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Authority for Gibraltar to date, I won't hold my breath.”